Saturday, August 21, 2021

Aces full of Kings lead to an imaginative raise

Partner opens Three Clubs in front of you and you hold a top fullhouse among your 13 cards. I shot out SIX CLUBS since partner tends to have good seven card suits, and they may not guess to lead spades.

Partner's hand surprised me, our total trump assets mean we needed a slightly against odds break. We got it.

I proudly showed my real life partner this hand, saying see what an imaginative raise I made. He replied dryly:"Indeed, quite imaginative! And very lucky not to lose two spades off the top."

Thinking outside the box

I was South in a robot pairs cross IMP event with fifteen other human South players in competition on BridgeBaseOnline. I raised partner's TWO HEARTS to FOUR HEARTS. (All pairs got to 4hearts one way, or anther). I had to move over to the North seat to declare for the robot. After the lead of the DQ, I played another top diamond pitching a club from the North (declarer's) hand. I took stock. Despite South's huge complement of high cards, the possible losers were 2 clubs, an inevitable Ace of spades, and a possible HQ. Against normal breaks, although I have a two way finesse (assuming reentries will be safe) I was loath to take an immediate trump position. I thought out of the box. If i exited, in clubs and repeatedly exited in black suits, I could better count out their high cards, distribution and then figure who was more likely to hold the HQ. So I exited with a club which West won. West thought that I was trying to score ruffs in dummy, from my failure to draw trumps. Innocently he returned a trump from xx picking up the queen of his angry robot partner whose circuits were fusing

The traveler showed that I was the only declarer to make 4H. 15 declarers failed by one or two tricks.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Almost Lightner, declarer steals a six spot winner

On the following deal, when they landed in 5 Clubs after a competitive auction, partner showing the majors, I almost made a lightner double. I wonder if partner would have duly led a spade for me to put him in with a H and to collect a second spade ruff? However, as things unfolded, partner got off to a H lead, now we could not get three off the top, he shifted to a diamomd, my King and declarer's Ace. Declarer after drawing trump in three rounds ending in hand, advanced the Spade 6 and when partner drowsily played small, played the five from dummy! the trick had been six, four, five, and I was void in the suit! Now he made 12 tricks easily. Note the play if North covers. Declarer must now duck in dummy and leave north on play. He should finish the last two trump in dummy, and then the diamond finesse of the ten and the DQ is the squeeze card. North is squeezed between S:KJ and H:Q, dummy having S:Ax and declarer S:x H:Q

Luck or cunning? Wearing the mask in a lost slam

Me and my bidding. I had torn it again, I thought. Still, one has to wear the mask. I won the trump lead, andd advanced SQ, covereed and won in dummy. Cheap attempt one was to make East duck his presumed Jack and sneak the 12th trick by playing small from T9x toward my 8. It failed but West made the last mistake, fearing to open from his Kxx clubs, and who could blame him, he had nearly an opening hand and we had bid to slam. My partner, with whom I shared the deal thought West had to try clubs. My play would have been strange with Ax of clubs the only way West could lose playing into the tenace.

"Hold your cards back!"

Playing online against Robots on BBO, I held the South hand and played in 2NT. After CA and CK brought the bad news, i decided to make something of the Txx in spades in dummy to build tricks. At the same time, I did not want to go all out with Ace and Queen from hand. I got incredibly lucky when I chose to lead out the SQ, and West, reasonably not placing me with AQx(x) (surely the idiot would have crossed to CQ to finesse) ducked. I continued with Spade Ace and the King fell. I set up the S winner, and diamonds (not 4 4 as I had hoped) were at least blocked. I brought in 2nt making my own luck as it went down all over the field

A pretty trump throw-in

I arrived in Four hearts, and knew from the bidding that west had long Spades and Clubs. After the SK and a small spade, East unaccountably made a mistake, a rookie mistake of not ruffing. However, the rest of the play was interesting. Visualizating and counting East's hand, I threw him in (with my last trump) to give entryless dummy an additional diamond trick, making.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Defender fails to crocodile; I sow confusion and engineer a onesuit endplay

This was one of the more exciting 3NT contracts with many points in the play. When west tried to win the second Heart trick cheaap (he needed to look ahead and crocodile) his partner found himself on lead. (My leading their suit was an attempt to throw sand in their eyes, but also to set yp a late endplay for the ninth trick)

I retained a fourth round spade entry to hand, the finesse having worked, the idea in the ending was to have west give me a trick after taking two

A non-lazy bid gets us to slam

I pontificated, in an email to my bridge partner that, Much ink is spilled on gadgets like serious 3NT non-serious 3NT, but more important IMHO, is simple co-operative bidding when level allows.nHere partner produces a funny limit raise. I accept, but en route, I bid 4C, a cue. This is all partner needs to put me in slam. I ruff with small trumps and am able to catch the T98 void break.

He responded " Weird that you didn’t have company in slam. Partner has an obvious 4D response to 1S, and with nothing wasted in diamonds and controls in the other suits, you’d seem to have an easy route to slam. But I agree that 4C was a good bid given your auction." Which is fair enough. Why didn't robot partner splinter

A bread and butter little slam. In NoTrump

A spade lead might have attacked the entries, but eventually I play up to the CQ and have many chances. As the actual defence went, I was not even tested

Declining a quantitative NT slam invite, on table feel

Barometer scoring, and I was in pole position with one board to play. When partner invited me to 6NT, I let it go hoping to have company and also hoping the slam would fail. And boy, did it?

A 3NT steal

I was trying to open 1NT like Zia, but my partner (later) just inquired if it was a mad rush of blood to the brain. When West chose to open small from his lognest suit, I was racking up my contract. Alas, I did not manage to put them on tilt. For, they were robots.

Three slams: The ugly, the optimistic and the systemic

The ugly

I perpetrated a inverted minor raise and then drove to slam gambling on unpromised diamond length given my slam controls. Surely there are better methods to ensure diamond nine card fit. I should have responded 1H; that would have resulted in an auction that would provide assurance that partner had a real diamond suit.

The optimistic

Yes I have aces and kings, and this time a five carder, but I still had to read the heart lead and continuation. Lucky no ruff.

The systemic

I wheel in Soloway, just so that I can hand over the slam inquiring business and naming of suit to partner. This was perhaps the worst suit length/quality I can ever hold for a Soloway, but partner came up with a 4-card fit

Partner whom I had shown the deal had this to say: "the play was weird. As the cards lie there is no squeeze, but one should surely ruff the last diamond and play for a club-heart squeeze (Vienna Coup) for the overtrick"

A few grandslams

In the following competitive auction, my Five diamond free call was not a thing of beauty. However, partner took a view with his void in spades a semi-solid holding in clubs and boosted me to a grand slam

Would you have rather rebid 5C to show a "two suiter"? With the club finesse working, I racked up thirteen tricks at 7D gratefully.

On this hand the robot with his 6D bid shows DK and admits to the trump Queen (Spade queen). I then bid Seven Spades (which the link does not display.) With all suits behaving, I made 13 tricks. My human partner made an interesting comment. He said N should convert 7S to 7NT.

Here is another. This time the robot makes a very strange bid. My understrength offshape 2NT was par for the course. Then partner got frisky. All was well that ends well

Partner professed to have two key cards and the HQ. I said, we cant both have the HQ, you must have six hearts, and short diamonds. Maybe I have cover cards for the grand slam. (On this hand, 5S was a nice bid by the robot! ) But I was lucky North had the SK—he did not promise that card on the bidding. Still, 7H should be at worst on a finesse. I think I bid well

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Trumps break 4-0 but with a show up squeeze I make overtrick in game

My two spades bid was perhaps shaded by a point. Over three hearts, partner had values to bid four spades. Only my values were borderline.

They got off the HA lead and a H ruff. At this point I could build a picture of the hidden hands, trumps were likely stacked on my right.Righty got out with a low diamond (funny card but immaterial here), I proceeded to win DA, Diamond ruff, Club to king, diamond ruff, at this point with S:A9 tight left on the board, I cashed the trump Ace and observed the fall of the Queen from LHO. I could now see the endgame.

I led the nine of spades, overtaking with the ten, drawing the last trump (the knave) with the King. In the four card ending, dummy was left with H:T C:AJ3. I held S:6 H:KJ C:6. The bidding made it highly likely that lefty had the CQ, but if he did he would be show-up squeezed on the play of the last free winner, the Spade 6.

Indeed on the spade 6, in order to hold his H:Qx lefty came down to the stiff Q. Cashing HK and making the last two tricks with the AJ as the Queen appeared or showed up on the "first round" in the ending was decidedly pleasant.

Obliging trump play by defenders allows dentist coup

The name dentist coup is fancy but it just means removing every card of exit in defender's hand. In this 4Spade contract, after a natural sequence of plays, East is stripped (as it happens) of diamond exit, He has Qx of clubs and is striped of clubs as well. He can ruff in with his master trump on round three of clubs with the same effect (having to lead into declarer's heart AQ tenace). His discard only postponed the inevitable as I threw him in with a trump.

Defence guided me like a guardian angel, first cashing the singleton Spade Ace and then covering the spade nine (I was going to run it). Apart from this soft defence, I thought the deal was cute.

Hold off ruffing declarer's Ace!

It is not every day that you are defending a slam and it is wrong to ruff declarer's side Ace.

Declarer arrived in Six hearts, West leads the DQ, East puts on the King, Declarer won and laid down the HA (correct is H to King, and, discovering the break, duckiing a heart, when a diamond can be tapped in dummy or trumps drawn with loss of one trump trick and spades brought home). Now discovering the break, he played SA. Plan defence.

If partner's carding is to make sense, and declarer's bidding is to make sense. Partner has two diamonds and is marked with the trump void. The deal layout you need to worry about resembles this. If you ruff, where is your side's next trick going to come from? declarer is able to reach his hand with CA and ruff a diamond to make his extra trick: 4 spades, DA, Druff, five trumps and Ace of clubs is 12 tricks. To cut his transportation, West needs to hold off till the third round and then ruff in, and play a high diamond. Now declarer is left without resource as, with HK in dummy, trumps at large, and no spades in hand, dummy's spade winners are marooned.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

He had an AK and an A and heard me bid slam

A certain partner calls some bids of mine rushes of blood to the head. I am pretty sure this fits the bill (note that it was I, sitting south who leaped to slam, I had to sit north to play it out), although all was well that ended well. Clubs 3-3. Partner coming up with real diamond support and not some forced preference from xx-x. Effectively I had just transferred the bidding to 6D knowing nothing about partner's hand. If East was shocked he did not show it. East was a robot.

Where an S.O.S redouble might have helped

For us, defending three clubs doubled was like Christmas come early.

A point about the bidding. What is the par contract. If West redoubles and East bounces into their eight card fit, at Matchpoints, what action should North-South take?


I did not know a triple squeeze of the show-up kind had manifested itself, but West’s spade discards signaled unease.

While I debated long whether to play for a spectacular endplay, (I might have played Ace and another club, playing west to have come down to Qxx of hearts), but counting in spades and common sense at matchpoints prevailed. I said 'Aha' when I understood West was dealt Qx tight of hearts. Almost gave west the lead before smelling a fish.

A beginner playing fast might come to the same number of tricks but at least I thought long and hard.

A seemingly routine hand gets interesting

I said, well, it is fortunate they did not attack clubs, and when I ducked a trump into west, and he did not find the club shift, I had tempo to work on hearts. I ducked a heart, won the club return and played a second round of trump toward hand when RHO showed out, proving the 2 trump losers. But I was in time to play off top hearts ending in dummy finding the suit breaking and pitching my losing club on the thirteenth heart as West scored his master trump (then or later). Made four.

Timing a near complete cross-ruff

Here is an example of a beautifully timed hand. The format is matchpoints. The contract was four spades but I took twelve tricks

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Robot misses a "Gitelman" play of ruffing its own winner

After Cashing SA and having a look at dummmy, I embarked on a strange line of play. I led out the DK. Declarer won in dummy and got to hand with a diamond to play on trump. He finessed losing to the HQ, and partner played a club which was cheaply covered and ruffed in dummy. Now declarer embarked on a spade play throwing a club and putting me on lead with my SK. Declarer found the nullo play of a diamond to hand which partner ruffed with the 8 for down one.

One nice line is for declarer to play round three of spade ruffing the winner in hand, what I call the Gitelman play, to secure a hand entry to take the second trump finesse.

Declarer, RHO played poorly, but other Souths played worse trying to cash a second top spade after seeing that dummy. Ugh. That was curtains for that mediocre defense at several tables.

Bidding to slam in the right major

You have a 4-4 fit in spades and at least a six two fit in hearts. With the South hand, I leaped to slam in spades. My judgement was vindicated as three (four were available) discards on good hearts brought home the slam.

In Six diamonds, they ruff my Heart Ace at trick one

But I make my contract. The bidding was based on a re-evaluation of my assets, the fact that lead would run up to north, and that North claimed to be worth a jump rebid (he was minimum for this action). Insisting on hearts in the actual layout would not have been a resounding success. This deal is chosen for its rarity, that a horrendous side suit break, and the ruffing of my ace at trick one did not scuttle the contract but helped plan the play of it.

Welcome to Ramesh's BRIDGE BLOG

In these pages, I comment on hands from Bridge Base Online ACBL tourneys. I play in these with a variety of partners with different degrees of skill. I might present a hand or two from my collection of bridge books, every now and then. I am more interested in play and defense than in complex bidding systems, but I do follow the cut and thrust of Vanderbilt and World Championship Vugraph and try to keep abreast of expert practice in the obstructive and constructive bidding system department. I may also feature, newspaper-style, famous hands from important matches that I saw on Vugraph.

NOTE: For JUNE, I am experimenting with adding BBO's Handviewers, which make bridge movies embedded. Just
scroll down beyond the few sampled book covers and you arrive at the blogs that play themselves with the NEXT button. THANKS, BBO!!

About Me

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Bridge expert for 20 years. I started blogging about bridge only in 2009. Chess follower. Problem fan. Studied hundreds of composition themes in two-movers, fairy chess, the former from the Good Companion era to the modern style of virtual play. Big collector of chess and bridge rare books. My two game blogs bridge blog, and my chess problem themes blog chess expo

My alter ego, The Hideous Hog

My alter ego, The Hideous Hog